WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US State Department blamed Russia in a statement on Thursday for using Security Council veto to block the renewal of a United Nations chemical probe in Syria after the investigation failed to determine who was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria in February.
“The OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission does not attribute responsibility for an attack. Unfortunately, Russia has vetoed the renewal of Joint Investigative Mechanism, which was the only impartial and independent body with the mandate for attributing responsibility, at the UN Security Council five times,” the statement said.
Previously, several media outlets and Western countries accused Damascus of using chemical weapons in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. The Syrian government and Russia have refuted the allegations, saying that it was staged by local militants and the White Helmets non-governmental organization. The Syrian government had also invited the experts from OPCW to investigate the reports.
On April 10, the UN Security Council failed to adopt either of the two Russian-drafted resolutions or the one drafted by the United States which were calling for an investigation into the reported chemical attack — the diplomats from both sides had used their veto power.
Earlier, the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation representatives inspected the location of the alleged attack and questioned local doctors, who said that they had not received individuals with symptoms of chemical poisoning.
However, the United States, the UK and France launched missile strikes against Syria as a response to the alleged chemical attack, despite the lack of evidence. The strike was launched on April 14, same day the OPCW mission was set to visit the sites.